More Democrats are going on the record to call on Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) to step aside and let someone else lead House Democrats next year after their historic defeat Tuesday.
Reps. Albio Sires (N.J.) and Dan Boren (Okla.) both said Friday that Pelosi should go.
“I think she’s been a very strong leader, I support her, but the result of this election shows we need some new direction and I think the best way is for her to move on,” said Sires, who is a vice chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
“She got us the majority and she has a real legacy, but it’s just time to move on,” he said. “That’s how I feel. She’s not going to like it, but I think a lot of people probably feel the same way but just aren’t going public with it. ... Sometimes the most difficult part of this business is knowing when to move on.”
Sires recalled his time in the state legislature when a divided Democratic minority caucused separately in different rooms. “The last thing we need after losing so many seats is a scenario like that,” he said. “I lived through that in New Jersey, and it was very ineffective.”
Sires has been a loyal Democrat, voting for Pelosi’s agenda, but he said the climb back to the majority would be harder with Pelosi at the helm. And he said Democrats already are facing a struggle with Republicans picking up governorships and redistricting looming.
“We don’t need a lightning rod,” he said.
Sires said he isn’t supporting anybody in particular to replace Pelosi yet. Pelosi has been mum about what she wants to do next but has been talking to Members to gauge their opinion. Democrats say they are increasingly convinced that she wants to pursue the job as Minority Leader.
“We’ll have to see who steps forward,” Sires said.
Boren, a conservative, also released a statement Friday saying he would not support Pelosi to lead the Caucus.
“I cannot in good conscience support Nancy Pelosi as Leader,” Boren said. “I intend to support a more conservative Democrat alternative.”
On Thursday, Roll Call reported that Rep. Heath Shuler (N.C.) said he would challenge Pelosi if she decided to run and no one else takes her on. Rep. Jim Matheson (Utah) also has called for new leadership.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) earlier told Roll Call he plans to run for leader if Pelosi does not.